Well-Done, Sister Suffragette

What Women Really Think
Aug. 26 2011 3:07 PM

Well-Done, Sister Suffragette

It’s easy to forget, amid the swirling campaigns and powerful rhetoric of women like Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren, that women fighting for the right to vote in the early 1900s were once imprisoned and beaten. Today, on the 91st anniversary of women’s suffrage, we can recall their struggles with vivid visuals: the cartoons of propagandist Nina Allender.

Born in Kansas in 1872, Allender studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. One Sunday in early 1913, Alice Paul, founder of the National Woman’s Party, visited Allender to ask her to work for the suffrage movement. She agreed.


“She really created a new suffragist image, a new female image,” says Jennifer Krafchik, the assistant director of the Sewall-Belmont House Museum, where the only known collection of Allender’s pictures are now on display. “We went from these traditional images of suffragists looking haggard, angry, and distorted to women who not only had shape and beauty but were intelligent and forceful.”

The fiercely courageous woman typical of Allender’s work became known as the Allender girl, a figure who “expressed the new spirit that came into the suffrage movement when Alice Paul and Lucy Burns came to the National Capital in 1913 and opened their little basement headquarters,” noted the Suffragist circa 1916.

Click on the slideshow below to view some of Allender’s most powerful cartoons and a few images of suffragists picketing outside the White House.

Elizabeth Weingarten is the associate editor at New America and the associate director of its Global Gender Parity Initiative.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.